Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Transport to Mauthausen

Three days.

Three days. We traveled all the way down, all the way. We didn't know where we're going. We were looking around, we thought we're going to recognize it, we thought maybe we go to Auschwitz, which everybody's afraid of. But just the life. Just to live in this particular place, in, in the train. Let me, let me tell you why I was fortunate. First, just let me give you the conditions first. No toilets, no food, no water. So you can imagine the, the stink, the, the, the stench that, that, that developed after awhile. It was very hot. I found a spot. I was near a places where there was a metal part running, there were, door was being closed and there was a metal part running down eh, this particular eh, spot. I bent down a little bit, I was very small. I was fortunate because on, because the heat caused, and the humidity eh, caused vapor to form on that metal and kind of was leak...leaking down and as it was, and it was down I was kind of licking the water, you know. That, that, that, of, off that metal, okay. Eh, eh, so it, it was, it was kind, as stupid as it is, as, as, as, as much as I didn't realize even at that time, okay, it was such a tremendous benefit and I kept quiet. I didn't want anyone else to, because you know if anybody else would do it, that, uh. Every now and then we stopped. Sometimes they give us something. I, I don't even remember if they did. Every now and then we stopped at the place, they open the door eh, threw out the, threw out people who uh, who, who are uh, not able to uh, who were either, uh. I don't think anyone died totally, but they were just uh, what would you call it uh, eh.


When someone, some people are on the side. Uh, th..., they were uh, no, that's not the proper name. Uh, there were uh,, uh... When somebody faints, that's what it is. There were people who fainted, fainted from heat, from uh, exhaustion. From lack of water. That's, that's the word I was looking for. They fainted, see. And they were carried out from the, from eh, eh, from the train. And half an hour later the door was locked again and we continued on.

Did they ever stop and give you food or water?

I don't remember. Genuinely I don't remember. We were all starving.

Let me stop--can we stop just a second?


I'm trying to find...

Mauthausen is near Linz.

Yeah, I know, but from, from Płaszów to Mauthausen is how many miles, would you say? Lets see...

I, I, I will tell you.

One hundred and fifty?

How many?

Hundred and fifty miles?

Probably more. Probably more.

Two hundred and fifty?

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure, maybe more. I, I would say even more. I'll tell you why. Must be more because after the war with the trains the way they were going, it took me three days to get home, so. But the trains were not going full speed. See, that, that, that--but I don't want to get to it. At that time that train wasn't going always, it wasn't going the regular speed. It was going and stopping, you know.

What was it stopping for?

Sometime we stood an hour or so closed up without no one opening anything.


Every time we didn't have a way to go, didn't have a way--now evidently there were other trains, priority maybe, so, you know. I mean, that was not a regular train that had a schedule. That, that train was not on schedule. It was an off schedule one. So evidently we're just uh, uh, at will. We came out.

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